Part 680p – Smith Groh Genealogy – The Mystery of Brayton C. Placeway – 1915 Emergency Passport Application – Berlin, Germany

10 May 2012

Good Day,

And the mystery begins to unfold…

Based on what I have read and from US PassportNOWPassports had been used for centuries in the US as well as a number of other countries, but were not actually mandatory for international travel until 1918.

So the question arises “Why did ggg-grandfather Brayton and his second wife Johanna (née Plischke) complete an Emergency Passport Application at the American Embassy in Berlin on 1 February 1915?”

His reasons are “for the purpose of travel in Europe and identification”.

The above inserted photograph is of ggg-grandfather Brayton Placeway and his wife Johanna. It was discovered attached to the Emergency Passport Application.

Okay, the Passport makes logical sense… especially for one who “follow(s) the occupation of a (travelling) Theatrical Artist”. But if ggg-grandfather Brayton had left the United States “on the 28 day of October, 1911”, what caused him to immediately need a passport on 1 February 1915 “for the purpose of travel in Europe…

Here are the pages of ggg-grandfather Brayton's Emergency Passport Application. The source of this document is the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venzuela, 1906-1915; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1244183 / MLR Number A1 544; Box #:4584; Volume #:173.

Here is my transcription of the amended Department Passport Application form. I have not included the crossed out portions, which you can see in the image of the actual document.



Issued, Feb. 1, 1915
STATES, hereby apply to the American Embassy, Berlin for a passport for myself, accompanied by
my wife, Johanna.
I solemnly swear that I was born at Pinckney, in the State
of Michigan, on 17 day of April, 1888;
that my father was native citizen of the United States; that I am domiciled in the United
States, my permanent residence being at Pinckney, in the State of Michigan
where I follow the occupation of Theatrical Artist that I left the United States on the 28 day
of October, 1911, * and am now temporarily sojourning at Berlin,
that I intend to return to the United States within 3
_____ with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein; and that I desire for the
passport for the purpose of travel in Europe & identification.

I have not applied elsewhere for a United States passport or for consular registration and been refused.


Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God.

Brayton Placeway

American Embassy at Berlin
Sworn to before me, this day of February, 1915
Roland B Haney
2nd Sec. of Embassy
of the United States of America


Age: 26 years.
Stature: 5 feet, 10 ½ inches, Eng.
Forehead: Normal
Eyes: Blue
Nose: Pominent
Mouth: Medium
Chin: Square
Hair: Brown
Complexion: med dark
Face: Oval


- Nothing filled in at this part of the Application
Identifying documents submitted as follows: Consular Certificate of Registra-
tion from Reichenberg Austria Marriage Certificate
Certificate from Notary Public from Livingston County, Michigan

I, solemnly swear that I desire the passport
for which I have applied on the annexed form
for use in visiting Germany and
returning to the United States
via Holland and England

Brayton Placeway
American Embassy at Berlin,
Sworn to before me, this 1st day of February 1915.

Roland B Haney
2nd Sec. of Embassy
Secretary of the Embassy
of the United States of America.

Holder of Emergency Passport No. 4962
issued Feb. 1st 1915 at Berlin

Brayton Placeway

And the mystery of ggg-grandfather Brayton continues. Check up the new updates.




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